The Dealer Playbook
The Dealer Playbook

Episode · 1 year ago

How Tech Can Help Build Better Relationships w/ Brian Miller

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

When we fast-forward and look at technology today, Brian Miller suggests that its best use is to help build better relationships with customers. 

In this episode, Brian explains how your dealership can leverage technology to build more meaningful relationships of trust that will power generational and long-term customer growth. 

Fortellis 

This episode is proudly sponsored by our friends at Fortellis. No two dealers operate the same way which is why Fortellis provides the tools to create unique apps that help your dealership meet the needs of the market while catering to your operations. 

Not only has Fortellis created an amazing technology platform that’s designed to make life easier for dealers, but they are also pouring back into the community with events like their dealer dev day. It’s a 3-day event that empowers attendees to network with each other to create smarter, faster, and better apps for the dealer community. 

Visit Fortellis.io to browse their marketplace of apps and integrations that will allow you to run your business, your way.

Hey gang, there are fewer things I regret more than not investing in zoom when I had the chance. How was I supposed to know there's gonna be a pandemic and zoom stocks would explode. Looking back 20 years from now, I don't want to have the same sinking feeling sitting on the sidelines knowing I could have jumped on another bandwagon sooner. luckily we know what the next big boom and retail automotive is and that's why companies like four telus have provided the tools to create unique apps that will help your dealership meet the demands of the market. You see no to dealers operate. The same way the beauty about four tell us, is that you can pick and choose the apps and workflows that help you meet the demands of the market while catering to your operations, not only is foretell has created an amazing technology platform that's designed to make life easier for dealers. They are pouring back into the community with events like their dealer DVD. It's a three day event that empowers attendees to network with each other to create smarter faster and better apps for the dealer community. So my beloved DPB gang, the best thing that you can do right now is visit the four telus marketplace and browse through their growing library of apps and integrations that will allow you to run your business your way, visit four telus dot iO to learn more. That's four tell us dot i o uh, huh. Yeah. I was just recently working on a blog post and remembering back to my days and sales. Yeah, back in the day when I sold cars before the internet. Um, you know, and when I used to sell vehicles originally I was that guy that would go out and take a picture of you with a camera. Remember these things called cameras and film. Once a week I go to the local drugstore and wait a day to have them developed. It was a neat process. You know two prints one for the customer to send them in an M. A. In an actual envelope with a stamp...

...thanking them for their purchase. Another one that I was. How many cards? How many personal photo printers have you bought? Right like remember when those came out you're like wait I can't live at home. Yeah and they were like see grand or something crazy like that. I think so. Yeah I would I would stick these on a just a card and I kept card boxes and anytime I connected with a customer I would contact them every year I would remind them I would send them birthday letters, I would work with them when I knew that customer was coming in to see me on an appointment. I pulled out that card and I'd look at that picture and I look on the back of the card and there I had written down the names of their kids, what they did, what kind of career their aspirations were, what their other vehicle purchases were. What else I sold them when they were in everything there for service. I'd make a note. I kept this nice little sheet for one simple reason. I knew that I could only survive in sales based upon my relationship with that customer. Everything began with that relationship. That's why I didn't just sell 10 cars a month. That's why I was a 25-30 car month guy. And if I went from dealership agency, the dealership be those 25 or 30 customers came with me because of the relationship. And this is the thing that always blows my mind when we, when we fast forward and look at technology today and we think about something like we were talking about the leaves. That's a crm. Okay, what does crm stand for customer relationship management? But ask most dealers what they are is and they're still trying to understand that and figure that out. I remember in 1999 2000 setting up an early internet internet sales team and we used an I. L. M. Internet lead management and then we advanced out of ill um into CMS customer management system. We were managing the leads, We were managing the customers. It wasn't until recently...

...that the idea of managing the relationship was even added into into the, into our vernacular and ask most dealers today what they managed, they manage the process rather than the relationship. The beauty of what we're doing with for telus is we offer new tools to take that crm and really make the relationship key. We can now immediately understand more information about that customer. So when we build a response, it's the right response. We can communicate in a timely way. When someone's in for service, we can communicate the more relevant way. When we're talking through a sales process, we go from just a management tool, well, we're not just working with the customer, we're actually doing what we're supposed to, we're not taking that customer relationship and that's the part that we're trying to manage makes sense. 100%. And I love that because I would say out of the 500 Plus episodes of the podcast, a solid 60-plus of them specifically speak to the importance of relationship and so here we are, starting with the tech conversation and we filled that bucket for all the tech nerds that are part of the DPB gang, but then it always, always, always finds its way back to relationships, not just any relationships, why would you even want to manage the relationship so that you can build a trusting relationship? I do have one question kind of as a sidebar, I'm gonna have to dig deep back into your, your front line days, how in the balls can a car sales professional find out what someone's career aspirations are or life aspirations are? Because I feel like today people are triggered over...

...the mustard that was two yellow on there, like a hot dog. How do you approach? Like, let's just talk about how you did it back then, How do you find out that level of information, what the kids are interested in? I feel like if I asked somebody what their kids were interested in today, they'd be like, who's asking? Yeah, what do you want to know that you're stepping, you know where I live? You know, it's like this kind of a weird get out of my face, you know, it's like that's how did you do that? How did you approach that to even get that kind of data? Well, you know, when I would actually look at my cards, if I was lacking that data, first of all, I would step back and say, okay, what did I not do right in my process? If I didn't establish trust early in that process, then I wasn't able to ask those questions or get those answers, which means I failed probably as a salesperson to initially do what I'm supposed to do and that's established trust and then build a relationship, you can't build a relationship if it's not built on trust, that's the cornerstone. Um, and so for me a lot of times that discussion might begin with how, you know, obviously you've got the general agreed at the dealership, you find out what their, you know at a high level what the need is. Okay. We've identified that they're looking for a new vehicle. We might have verified what type of vehicle they're looking for, what it's used cases for in that use case or your commuting really? Uh, where do you commute to? Oh, you work at? So, and so how is that? Uh, is that where you see yourself in a couple of years and you just shut up and let someone talk and you build that bond. And so when you're in that test drive and you load the three kids in the car, there's, there's billy, billy, how old are you? Seven cool billy. You know what you want to be when you grow up and astronaut? That's pretty cool. I can have that conversation because the trust has already been established. Yeah, I was in a clubhouse room the other night and it was like sales versus marketing or or no sales, personal brand versus...

...sales. And as you're speaking and I'm writing notes, um uh it brought to mind people deliberating for over an hour sales tactics and then you go, Michael, what's your opinion? And I'm like, well I believe that no sales tactic will work if you are a dick of a human. Mhm. And the reason I think about that, not because I think brian miller is a dick of a human. Quite the contrary. You're you're sitting here. I'm writing notes, I wrote down, shut up and let them talk. Ah ask going a step further by asking them where they work. Like everything I think about relationships and like fortifying the trust comes from just this innate desire to be a good person and good people care about other people, good people care about letting other people talk. Um most experiences that I've had purchasing vehicles, nobody's even cared to ask if I have kids, let alone include them in the test drive and ask their age and what they want to be when they grow up. Like to take that level of interest I think is is very uh interesting. So now let's say we acquire this information in this tech ecosystem. Human being collects information, What do I do, Where do I go from here? What do I do with it? I put it into my Crm and then what Crm connects to what, what would be an example of what I could connect...

...my Crm to make better use of this data that I've collected. So it may not be as far as even having to put that information into your crm. We're trying to get away from these large amounts of data being concentrated in specific areas, from a security reason and just from a daily processing point, if that information exists over here in the in the in the D. M. S, all I need to do is I need to understand where the data is. I just need to flip to that old card I used to use turn it over and get the information I need. Put the card back in the box and step away from it. And using that same analogy here, let's say I'm at the dealership and I'm about to send an email and I'm at the service lane. Well I'm contacting this customer and I hit a button and that button can go over and say, okay, this customer has been in the service department three times each time it was the same problem, reported. Not yet fixed. So I know how to craft that email on the flip side. It may be that person has, this is their third vehicle with the, with the company. That being it is the third vehicle that may change the way I addressed them from a loyalty perspective, what what offerings I may be able to provide ease a problem. I could look at it and say, wow! The last three cars, they've always done a tire rotation and a detail. Great. That's an automatic Upsell opportunity. Having those data points just using the example of the service lane gives me a lot more power to do what I need to do quickly and at the same time it may not necessarily be all done at once. Maybe I'm using a contact system that's I schedule the appointment and I get the message coming through an SmS and in that SMS message I say, oh by the way we see usually have a detailed work done, we have somebody available, it can have it done, would you like that as well? So you push the conversation over to there and then when that customer comes back and they drop off the car, they're off on their way. Maybe that communication system is now saying you're cars almost done. We're...

...ready to have you come back and pick it up. Once again, we just want to thank you for for, for purchasing three different cars from us. We value you as a customer man. Well, I got that instead of just your car is done. Which one do you think it's gonna remind me to go to that dealer more? Oh my gosh, I'd be tying this now my brains moving on. I I would be tying this into some sort of, well, first of all, um, you know, creating some sort of a loyalty pro, an internal loyalty program. Forget like whatever the O. E. M. Programs might be and how they try and get you into. I'm creating an internal loyalty program. So you're saying I've got a repeat customer, I have that information readily accessible to me. I would be integrating that with my loyalty program so that when I pull up that card, it's telling me as the rep, they qualify for this V. I. P. Experience and that thing would be tied into profit margins so that I'm not constantly wondering as the dealer principal or as the business owner. Yeah, but if I do that for them, is it cutting too deeply into my profit margins? Like so I would I would have it almost tied into some sort of profit calculator where it's like no on their second visit I I as the service rep don't have to ask permission. I am automatically authorized because I see it up on my screen that mr miller who has come back for this second service appointment to get a tire swap and a fluid swap and an oil change that we are going to buy him and his wife dinner at their favorite keto restaurant. And boom it because I don't have to ask permission. I don't have to go to my manager. It's a no brainer like rain in front of me and all of that is tied into my system. Sure like people are doing punch cards, why can't I have like something that ties into my own internal hospitality system. This is something that nobody ever thinks of and imagine what would happen. You come in for a service appointment for something as routine as an oil change...

And I'm walking out with $100 gift card like basically see but what happens is because we never reconcile quickly enough the financials, We don't think that we're making any money then we'll wait. How did we make money on the oil change? You made money on the oil change because you just invested $100 to keep that customer coming back for the next two years. Sure. And if you're running into the sales log, you can look and see that maybe that customer. Okay. This guy might have been the guy that, you know, he grinded us on three new car deals. We know what the potential grosses in future sale over there. Then again, this might be the guy who grinded this once on, on a new car and then brought his daughter in, his sister in and we just conk them both over the head on a used car. Can I say that on there? I just did. So, so you're like, okay, there's obviously a big value in this guy because he's a new and used car buyer and I have a greater growth potential just in the future. Sales, never mind the service side of it. And to see the tie in without this is the part that's appealing to me. Little to no intervention on my part is going to actually empower my team to do more serving sure to be like, wait. Because now I'm thinking even in that context, he's a new and he used vehicle, uh, customer. But if I could pull up right away and see anybody that he's referred to me or anybody else in his family that has also purchased a vehicle. Now I get a great sense on this one flip card that's created by this, this integration of how much generational and lifetime value potential I have on this customer. And what's even what I think is even brilliant going a step further because I know what some might be thinking, well then how do I avoid my team judging an individual who might not have as much lifetime value...

...potential while that's simple because then you're going to have a process baked into this that says, here are steps you can take to encourage that customer to come back to increase probability of lifetime value. You know, you mentioned, you mentioned this, you mentioned hospitality um in a future world, in the future world, this will happen again, but in the past world before Covid you and I spent a lot of time in hotels, on planes and uh we we tended to be loyal to certain brands. For me, I was loyal. I was loyal to the Hilton brand. I've been a diamond member for years. Every time I walk into a Hilton property, what they see. First of all they see, oh Mr Miller is a diamond level. So I'm going to Address him a specific way because he's a diamond level for guest. I was thinking like Motel six. If I've been to that specific location, if I've been that they know every time I've been to that location, let's say I complained twice about the H. V. A. C. System, right? When they schedule my appointment, they see they schedule room and they see him coming in as a diamond member. The processes diamond member complained about the same problem twice. Check the room before he gets here. Now if I'm just a silver level, they look at a little differently, but they're always trying to move me to the gold level and move me to the diamond level. They're trying to encourage behavior to get me to that level. That's the same approach that we can do within our industry. But it all begins with looking at those little morsels of data in the right way and we can access all that data in near real time by utilizing a platform like to tell us to get the information we need. I'm Michel Cirillo and you've been listening to the dealer Playbook podcast. If you haven't yet, please click the subscribe button wherever...

...you're listening right now, leave a rating or review and share it with a colleague. If you're ready to make big changes in your life and career and want to connect with positive, nurturing automotive professionals, join my exclusive DPB Pro community on facebook. That's where we share information, ideas and content that isn't shared anywhere else. I can't wait to meet you there. Thanks for listening.

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